🏡 What’s new at prg.ai
New quarter, new director
After steering prg.ai through the choppy waters of its first three years, our former director Lenka Kučerová has stepped down in favour of Lukáš Kačena, who has been at the helm since April. Having collected a rich portfolio of public consultation projects focusing on strategy development, research, and innovation policy, he is excited to take up his new role as leader of prg.ai’s ambitious mission.
“Artificial intelligence is one of today’s most promising fields. I see great potential and space for growth in prg.ai’s activities, which I would like to take full advantage of in our joint effort to turn Prague into a focal point of artificial intelligence and innovation in Europe,” he noted upon his first days at prg.ai.
In case of questions or inquiries, do not hesitate to contact Lukáš at email@example.com. Lenka Kučerová remains an important pillar of the prg.ai team, and will shift her attention toward community-building and expanding the organisation’s diverse partnerships.
Help prg.ai supercharge AI education
Yet our team is growing even further: currently, we’re looking for a new programme manager to take charge of our existing educational projects as well as help fresh ideas see the light of day. Eager to take charge of projects by the likes of the AI Academy, prg.ai Minor, or Elements of AI, we’re looking for an excited team-player with a passion for capitalising on the full potential of AI education. Are you interested, or do you know of someone who may be? We’re looking forward to receiving your applications — send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 16th of May.
Boosting technological literacy across the country
A testament to how diverse and dynamic the landscape of tech education can be in Prague, the Technological literacy olympics final took place in Prague last week, celebrating the ingenuity of young technical talents. Given our ongoing efforts to bring more AI into highschools, we are happy to partner with the event and support them in their mission to show students that technology is not boring nor intimidating through guest lectures and competitions. At the Olympics, we reviewed the AI challenge and connected participants with Michaela Urbanovská and David Fiedler from CTU FEE’s AI Centre, who mentored teams and shared their AI expertise. You can watch a highlights video from the day on YouTube: if you’re already excited to participate next year or know a highschool who may be interested in joining next time around, you can find all relevant information on the initiative’s website.
École 42 moves to Prague
We were also happy to welcome a new partner in April: 42 Prague is set to open the doors to its first cohort in May, offering a unique tuition-free IT curriculum to anyone brave enough to try. Part of a worldwide coding school network with 40+ campuses and 13,000 students, the Prague centre joins a well-established movement democratising technical education. We’re excited to partner with them!
🎭 Events we’re excited about
6 May, Registration deadline for the GreenHack 2022
GreenHack is an international hackathon tackling sustainable development and future challenges, including climate change, overconsumption, irresponsible production and poor resource management. GreenHack is part of EU Green Week 2022 initiative by the European Commission organised under auspices of The Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and Prague City Hall. Ready to join in? Don’t miss the registration deadline on 6 May.
10 May, TDW IV: AI for Future Manufacturing
The aim of the 4th Theme Development Workshop is to identify common goals between academia and the manufacturing sector as well as other relevant stakeholders, and define promising approaches for European research and innovation in Trustworthy AI. Throughout its 14 detail-oriented breakout sessions, industry experts and researchers will come together to discuss AI in product development, optimization, AI in digital factories, and many more timely topics.
18 May, Cross-cutting TWD on AI – Mitigating Bias & Disinformation
The first cross-cutting session in the Theme Development Workshop series will cover 12 important themes related to the ever-present challenges of minimising bias and fighting misinformation with the help of innovative technologies. Register for a chance to participate in specialised breakout sessions covering deepfake detection, comment moderation and automation of online media, systematic bias and much more.
27 – 29 May, Machine Learning Prague
The Machine Learning Prague Conference brings three days full of guest talks, hands-on workshops, and networking opportunities with top machine learning experts from the Czech Republic and beyond. Don’t miss your chance to learn from over 45 experts: Hamed Valizadegan will present exciting machine learning projects he leads at NASA, Daria Stepanova will discuss knowledge representation and neuro-symbolic AI, and Meta’s Yama Anin Aminof will introduce NLP techniques in music processing. Members of our community can use code prgai20 for 20 % off their conference ticket — hurry, only a few are left!
30 May – 1 Jun, Conference: Cognition and Artificial Life XX
The 20th edition of the Cognition and Artificial Life Conference will take place at Třešť, inviting experts on cognitive science to meet, present their work, and maintain transdisciplinary dialogue. The event will also welcome experts focusing on the humanities, neurosciences, robotics, and ethics, as well as young academics beginning their research careers. Submissions and presentation abstracts will be published in a special conference collection including a unique ISBN.
31 May – AI Czechia: Zuzana Kukelova: Methods for Generating Efficient Algebraic Solvers for Computer Vision Problems
Many problems in computer vision, but also in other fields such as robotics, control design, and economics, can be formulated using systems of polynomial equations. For computer vision problems, general algorithms for solving polynomial systems cannot be efficiently applied. In this talk, Zuzana Kukelová will discuss methods for designing an efficient specific solver for this problem, outline several approaches for improving the efficiency of the final solvers, and demonstrate the usefulness of these methods onl important computer vision problems.
2 – 4 Jun, US–EU Workshop on Intelligent Manufacturing
Three prominent personalities when it comes to AI deployment in manufacturing – including Prof. Růžena Bajcsy, Prof. Wolfgang Walhster, and Prof. Vladimír Mařík – will join CIIRC CTU and Ricaip to bring you a three-day event on Intelligent Manufacturing with outstanding speakers from around the world. The event is intended mainly for Czech AI experts from both academic and private spheres eager to explore the state of AI in manufacturing in Europe and across the pond.
8 – 9 Jun, Czechoslovak Technology Summit 2022
The biggest Czechoslovak networking event around themes of cybersecurity, IT, and artificial intelligence is set to take place this June. Thanks to the support of EDIH consortia from Czech Republic and Slovakia, the two-day event will unite computer science experts as well as other renowned personalities of the European innovation scene, providing opportunities to set up new collaborations among local experts and European digital innovation hubs.
10 – 12 Jun, WebExpo 2022
During this year’s WebExpo, you can look forward to networking with 1700 attendees and 70 speakers, enjoy insightful talks from industry professionals, and kick back during three parties following the daily programme. Take an opportunity to level up your skills and get ready to play at the top of your game when it comes to all things deep tech, web development, digital design, product management, and marketing.
👏 Members’ news that makes us proud
The explainability and transparency of AI models is central to their successful deployment in various social domains, be it on social media, in banking, or in e-government. CTU’s FEE is heading an international research effort supported by the European Commission, which has recently awarded the initiative with 95 million Czech crowns in Horizon Europe funding. The AutoFair project will deal with the design of explainable and transparent AI algorithms, uniting experts from 8 different research institutions – including Imperial College London, Israeli Technion or Greek National and Capodistrian University. This international effort will be coordinated from Prague, relying on the unique expertise of Jakub Mareček from the Optimization cluster at FEE’s AI Centre.
Such international recognition also reflects in the latest university rankings released in April – the prestigious CSRankings have recognised researchers from CTU’s FEE and CIIRC among Europe’s very best, recognising their excellence when it comes to computer vision, robotics, computational economics, and artificial intelligence.
Did you miss the lecture on AI and sustainability organised by FEE CTU’s AI Center? You can watch the recording on YouTube and learn about the vital role AI could play in the effort to meet various sustainable development goals. In case you’re determined not to miss the next talk in the series and want to get updates for any upcoming D<AI>DALOS sessions, follow their Facebook page or Twitter account.
Is it possible to leap from a master’s programme in artificial intelligence at CTU’s FIT (and prg.ai Minor) right into the bright lights of the international start-up scene? Adam Zvada, alongside his co-founder Davic Mokoš, have done just that: in just three months, their NFTScoring platform has raised 37 million Czech crowns in early investment and opened various doors for them, including to the prestigious American Y Combinator. Their start-up helps users navigate the ever-changing blockchain, allowing investors to differentiate dubious tokens from legitimate and promising investment opportunities.
The UK-based Data Magazine has published their list of 40 most innovative AI and ML companies in the Czech Republic. The full list is a testament to the diversity and rapid growth of the Czech AI scene, and features some of our industrial members including Resistant AI, GoodAI, and Blindspot Solutions. But our industrial partners aren’t just recognised abroad: they make a splash in the local pond, too. Last month, DataSentics won Hackuj Brno’s Hackathon and special AI challenge with their unique ČUČ-KÁRA project. You can now also peek under the hood of Recombee’s user interface with their latest admin UI demo, which showcases a sample of their AI-enabled ecommerce capabilities.
Professor Jan Hajič, affiliated with CUNI MFF’s Institute for formal and applied linguistics, has been awarded with the prestigious Donatio Universitatis Carolinae award and grant, presented by CUNI’s Rector Milena Králíčková. The associated funding of one million Czech crowns is meant to recognise the excellent work of the Institute and support its further activities, particularly in the field of machine translation. And CTU’s FIT is also celebrating a new funding award: their Programming Research Laboratory (PRL@PRG) has received an Advanced ERC grant of 77 million Czech crowns. The money is meant to support further work on making programming language updates more accessible, effective, and responsive to frequent hardware updates. The awarded research project hopes to find new ways of applying the continuously developed innovations of programming languages as quickly, easily and without unnecessary errors as possible, addressing one of the more costly problems associated with IT innovation.
📍 From the local AI scene
The Czech-backed future of quantum computing
Tensor Ventures alongside its European counterpart Earlybird are teaming up to support Pointee, a Czech start-up aiming to help companies manage and coordinate their various automations, with an investment of 1.3 million euros. With this support, the Pointee team hopes to not only introduce its technology to new clients, but also expand their services into new international markets. Tensor also supports QC82, a University of Virginia-affiliated company focusing on the revolutionary potential of new quantum computing chips.
📰 Stuff that interests us
- Metacurator: Interview with PhD researcher Lukáš Pilka about UMPRUM’s Digital curator (article, in Czech).
- A Complete History of Artificial Intelligence (article).
- A Guide to DeSci, the Latest Web3 Movement (article).
- Artificial intelligence beats eight world champions at bridge (article).
- OpenAI’s DALL·E: Creating Images from Text (website).
🧩 AI/ML sources we recommend
In their AI Reports, the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence tracks, collates, distils, and visualises data relating to artificial intelligence, enabling decision-makers to take meaningful action to advance AI responsibly and ethically with humans in mind.
The latest edition is more extensive than previous editions, including an expanded technical performance chapter, a new survey of robotics researchers around the world, data on global AI legislation records, and a new chapter about technical AI ethics metrics.
European Language Technology is the combined communication channel for the sister projects European Language Grid (ELG) and European Language Equality (ELE), funded by the European Commission. In their newsletter, you can read – and subscribe to – their newsletter for international news about developments in language technology, particularly in the world of chatbots, NLP, and automated translation.
Neural networks inspired by the inner workings of the human brain definitely count among the most interesting approaches to machine learning. With the latest article on MFF’s blog, you can learn some theory while you explore the possibilities neural networks provide when applied to various different situations. The article also points to many other useful sources, which will definitely come in handy when learning (or revising) the basics of neural networks.
📢 Community calls
HelloAI Advanced RIS & Professional RIS: registration deadline on 12 May
Don’t miss out on your chance to register for a unique interdisciplinary education combining artificial intelligence and healthcare. HelloAI Advanced RIS is an online seminar organised by GE Healthcare, LEITAT and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, open to students, young researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs eager to deepen their competences when it comes to applying AI to healthcare. To participate free of charge, register before 12 May and use promo code HELLORIS. If you are an expert of well-established researcher looking to gain a deeper insight into medical applications of AI models, consider applying for HelloAI Professional RIS – its application period opens just as HelloAI Advanced closes on 12 May.
prg.ai searches for a new leader of its educational projects
Do you know someone who is passionate about the intersection of education with technology, and is ready for an exciting new challenge? Or, even better – does that someone happen to be yourself? As mentioned above, we’re looking for a new addition to our dynamic team to take up our diverse education projects and help the Czech AI scene build a bright and sustainable future. You can read more about the position on prg.ai Journal, where you can also share the listing with your network. Apply by 16 May by sending your CV and a brief motivation statement to email@example.com.
💼 Open job positions
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